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Motorbike review Aprilia RS 660: Italian masterclass reinvents the middleweight market

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Aprilia's RS 660 in 'Acid Gold' colours

Aprilia's RS 660 in 'Acid Gold' colours

Aprilia's RS 660 in 'Acid Gold' colours

Aprilia's RS 660 in 'Acid Gold' colours

The Aprilia RS 660, seen here in 'Apex Black', comes with six-axis inertial platform, traction control, wheelie control, engine brake, engine map, cruise control and five riding modes

The Aprilia RS 660, seen here in 'Apex Black', comes with six-axis inertial platform, traction control, wheelie control, engine brake, engine map, cruise control and five riding modes

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Aprilia's RS 660 in 'Acid Gold' colours

Aprilia’s new Tuono 660 impressed my colleague Finn Gillespie, who was mightily surprised at how good the middle weight machine was when he reviewed it here a couple of weeks ago. This week, I’ve been riding its sibling, the new RS 660.

From the same people who gave us the most desirable two-stroke machines back in the day, Aprilia now have a middle weight sports class once again with the RS 660.

This is, yet again, an entirely new out-and-out sportsbike powered by a 100 bhp twin. While I got to use it on a mix of urban, motorway and twisty mountain rural roads, the one place I didn’t get at it was on the racetrack. This was a bit of a shame because no matter how technical the road, it was just rock solid and tracked perfectly through the corners.

I really liked the Acid Gold colour scheme on the RS 660. It seems to harken back to that golden age of two bangers and early track days in Mondello back when we were still immortal.

The bike’s power-to-weight ratio is excellent - the fact that it only weighs in at 183 kilos wet means that it has what it takes to upset faster and more powerful machines.

The LED high beam sits in the middle of the bulb array, so when the regular dipped beam is on, the bike has its own ‘light signature’. The indicators on the front end are hidden in the headlights, which narrows the front end visually. The hazard lights come on automatically in a hard breaking situation. That headlamp also has cornering lights function.

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The Aprilia RS 660, seen here in 'Apex Black', comes with six-axis inertial platform, traction control, wheelie control, engine brake, engine map, cruise control and five riding modes

The Aprilia RS 660, seen here in 'Apex Black', comes with six-axis inertial platform, traction control, wheelie control, engine brake, engine map, cruise control and five riding modes

The Aprilia RS 660, seen here in 'Apex Black', comes with six-axis inertial platform, traction control, wheelie control, engine brake, engine map, cruise control and five riding modes

The RS 660 has a double skinned fairing which makes for a very stable high speed experience as well as deflecting heat away from the engine, radiator and rider.

Once you do get to that trackday, parts such as the mirrors, pillion pegs and reg plate hanger are designed to be removed with ease, so that you can continue to look cool in all your pictures.

The electronics are stunning and of a nature that we haven’t seen on a bike in this class before. The new RS 660 boasts the complete Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronic command package. As such it comes equipped with a six-axis inertial platform. This is able to recognise the position of the bike with regard to the road, allowing all the toys to be set by the rider, including traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, a quick shifter, engine breaking, a choice of engine maps and even cornering ABS.

While adjustability is monitored from the TFT screen, the bike itself measures parameters such as acceleration, lean angle and even how hard the rider is squeezing the brake lever, all of which dictates the level of electronic intervention.

There are five riding modes - three are for road use, and two designed for track use. The TFT even has a night or day setting, which it chooses automatically thanks to a twilight sensor. There’s a multimedia platform, allowing you to connect your smartphone to the bike. This system includes the infotainment system for managing voice commands, navigation, calls and music via the handlebar controls.

The bike is available exclusively from Megabikes in Ballymount, Dublin, and prices start at €11,795. There is a demo available to ride. Call Ciaran on 01-4784200 to book a ride and order yours.

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Aprilia RS 660 tech spec

Engine: Forward-facing 659cc parallel twin, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder.

Power and torque: 100 hp @ 10,500 rpm, 67 Nm at 8,500 rpm

Electronic management: 6-axis inertial platform, APRC suite which includes ATC (traction control, AWC (wheelie control), AEB (engine brake), AEM (engine map), ACC (cruise control). Five Riding modes (Road and Track, 3 fixed and 2 customisable)

Seat height: 820 mm

Weight: 183 kg (wet)

Tank capacity: 15 litres

Colours: Apex Black, Lava Red, Acid Gold

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